Seeking out opportunities in times of crisis


Facilitative ecosystem: (from left) Khoo, Cheong, Tio and Yip speak on the necessity of ensuring proactive measures are taken for business continuity.Facilitative ecosystem: (from left) Khoo, Cheong, Tio and Yip speak on the necessity of ensuring proactive measures are taken for business continuity.

KUALA LUMPUR: When the going gets tough, the tough gets going, as evidenced by the entrepreneurs who spoke at the recent Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2021 #SOS: Save Our SMEs webinar.

In line with the title “Opportunities Amidst the Pandemic”, entrepreneur Acid Yong shared her journey from a school teacher to become chief executive officer of Korea Wallpaper Sdn Bhd, then to founder of online durian selling platform Dooran Dooran.

She noted that the keys to finding opportunities during the pandemic lie in identifying an existing gap in the market, re-purposing or optimising existing resources and finally, pivoting with a can-do mindset.

PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd group chief executive and managing director Datuk Seri Dr Michael Tio also pointed out the importance of taking proactive action to transform and diversify into recession-proof segments to weather unexpected economic storms caused by crises.

Business perspective: (from left) Khoo, Yong, Hoh and Lee dive deep into how SMEs can tap into ready opportunities in times of crisis.Business perspective: (from left) Khoo, Yong, Hoh and Lee dive deep into how SMEs can tap into ready opportunities in times of crisis.

For Industries Unite co-founder Datuk Irwin S.W. Cheong, he stressed that the previous recessions have taught businesses to always have readily available cash in hand by keeping reserves for rainy days.

In addition, Credit Guarantee Corp Malaysia Bhd (CGC) SME advisory and marketing vice-president Jenny Hoh pointed out that businesses and ecosystem facilitators must first ensure they have the “right ingredients” with the right concept and solutions to achieve their objectives.

For CGC, that meant closing the gap by addressing the needs of businesses unable to secure financing from financial institutions, then guiding those who have secured financing to keep them sustainable.

For those that fail to obtain CGC’s financing, it also provides advisory services and workshops, among others.

Maxis Business SME head Kevin Lee added that Maxis started pivoting in 2018 to help SMEs get onboard the digitalisation journey, sharing that many businesses are eager to go online and build a web presence.

Noting that Maxis introduced the Digital Readiness Index Assessment to help accelerate digital transformation in the country, he said: “Digitalisation is a journey that every business has to go through. E-commerce is where you really need to pivot and scale and businesses that have leveraged digital marketing to reach out on social platforms have seen good results.”

On how the RHB Group is helping SMEs, RHB Bank Bhd SME banking head Yip How Nang said banks in Malaysia continue to provide assistance to companies as Malaysia progresses along its recovery plan, noting that the bank is focusing on disbursing funds to qualified individuals and businesses.

SOBA 2021 is organised by Star Media Group Bhd with Credit Guarantee Corp Malaysia Bhd, Maxis, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd as main sponsors and the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp as official trade promotion partner.

Supported by the International Trade and Industry Ministry and Bursa Malaysia, it is audited by BDO with 988 and Suria as official media partners.

For more information on SOBA 2021, call The Star Events at 017-231 1789 or visit www.soba.com.my.

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